I met my future husband in a way I could have never dreamed up or imagined. I met him at middle school camp. However, we weren’t in our awkward middle school years, it was just two years ago in 2012. I left my family and friends to move to Tennessee and intern at Long Hollow Baptist Church with their middle school ministry. Little did I know, my life would change that summer and I would begin to see how the pieces in the puzzle of my life were fitting together to create a beautiful masterpiece of God’s glory.
In middle school, I committed to the Lord that I wouldn’t date anyone until I knew they were “the one” I would marry. That’s definitely a bold prayer to be made by a 7th grader! However, in that moment it was very clear that God was calling me to wait on Him to provide. Needless to say, I didn’t date in middle school, high school or college. That’s not to say I never was interested in a boy or my heart didn’t ache to meet who I would marry. God continually made it clear that the people I had met weren’t who I should give my heart to.
Every February 14th Valentine’s Day came and went, leaving me without a Valentine, without flowers and without chocolate. In those lonely moments that usually led me to compare myself to others, the Lord began teaching me a lesson that is far more valuable than any earthly Valentine could give. He was opening my eyes to truth that Jesus is my One, True Love. I knew that He loved me and that He died on the cross for me, but I hadn’t realized how fervent and deep that love really was. I didn’t truly believe that Jesus is enough for me.
It took me years of waiting and wishing the moment would come for me to meet my future husband for me to realize that meeting him wouldn’t solve all of my problems. If I didn’t truly believe that Jesus was enough for me without a husband, how would I ever believe it with one? He gently showed me that I lived my life as if a husband would fulfill all of my desires when truly ONLY Jesus can.
There’s only one love that will never fail. It was proven to us on the cross where Jesus willingly suffered and shed His blood that we might have a relationship with Him. THAT is the greatest love story of all! The love story of our suffering Savior is not a clean one. He was beaten, bloody and bruised for us. But He didn’t stay that way forever. He rose from the dead and is alive today! He defeated death once and for all. Just like this canvas that has paint splattered onto it in every way, so does His unending love cover your sins, your discontentment and your aching heart.
True love is about falling deeply in love with Jesus. He longs for us to find our joy, worth and contentment in Him. When we do, we can watch Him work in marvelous ways in our lives that are too good for us to understand!
Now, let’s go back to the masterpiece God painted at middle school camp in 2012. I met my husband in the most unlikely way. I was interning and he was working at camp. The moment I met him I knew there was something so different about him. It was in the way he looked at me, honored me and took great interest in me. I noticed how he worshipped the Lord as if He were the only one in the room. I noticed how his eyes displayed pure, tender compassion and love for Jesus. After we became friends, he began to pray for me, pursue me and wait for me. In many ways, he sacrificed his own needs for mine and showed me more about the love of Jesus. (again, read about our entire love story at saffles.com)
I never could have imagined the love story God was painting for me as I grew up. I didn’t know when, where or how I would meet my future husband when I was in the 7th grade. I did know that God is faithful and more creative than we are. Even when we have a canvas in front of us with paint splattered all over it and we just can’t seem to make sense of what the painting will be, we can know it’s going to be a great one.
God is always painting something beautiful out of our mess. He is working good through harm. He holds the very tears we cry in a bottle. He knows us and loves us well. Whether you have a Valentine this year or not, know that there is non who can compare to Jesus. His love never falters and it never fails. As you journey with the Lord and look at the canvas of your life He is painting on, I pray you see and believe these three simple words: